Today, of course, is Juneteenth, the popular name that became standard for what was originally called Jubilee Day; officially the army had been enforcing the Emancipation Proclamation since it was issued in 1862, but Texas was quite distant and the Union had relatively little presence in the state for a while, so consistent actual enforcement did not happen until General Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3 on June 19, 1865. The day began to be regularly celebrated in Galveston the very next year, and spread from there to other Texas cities quite quickly; it was a commonly recognized popular holiday, and has been an official state holiday in Texas for forty years now.
Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing
by James Weldon Johnson
Lift ev’ry voice and sing
Till earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the list’ning skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us.
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on till victory is won.
Stony the road we trod,
Bitter the chast’ning rod
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;
Yet with a steady beat,
Have not our weary feet
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,
Out from the gloomy past,
Till now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.
God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,
Thou who has brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who has by Thy might
Led us into the light.
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,
Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, forget Thee,
Shadowed beneath Thy hand,
May we forever stand
True to our God,
True to our native land.
Acapella, "Lift Every Voice and Sing"